Winston Churchill once said, „There is no greater mistake than to suppose that platitudes, smooth words, and timid policies offer a path to safety.” That is the challenge that Europe and not just its Jews have to the face in light of the ever-growing threat of deadly anti-Semitism.
So far, the European political elite’s answer has been limited, ultimately because the European Union itself significantly contributes to the acceptance of an anti-Semitic mindset. Only two years ago the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke in front of a cheering crowd, alleging that „Rabbis in Israel demand of their government to poison the water to kill Palestinians.“ He did not express this medieval anti-Semitic ritual murder legend in Ramallah, but at the epicenter of European democracy, the European Parliament. For his speech he received standing ovations. The President of the European Parliament at that time, Martin Schulz, even described his speech as „inspiring“. That‘s just one of many examples where anti-Semitism of EU representatives has been ignored, if not encouraged. The reigning Hungarian Fidesz, known for their anti-Semitic propaganda campaigns, is still a member of the European People‘s Party. And finally, Europe has open ears for the Iranian regime, which denies the Holocaust, is a main supporter of anti-Semitic terrorism and threatens Israel, also under President Hassan Rohani, with annihilation.
A few weeks ago, Aladdin Boroujerdi, the Iranian pseudo-parliament’s Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was received at the European Parliament. Boroujerdi is not only responsible for the support of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, but also participated in 2014 in a conference of Holocaust deniers and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists in Tehran.
Moreover, the EU has become a notable supporter of the anti-Semitic BDS movement. According to NGO Monitor almost a third of EU grants, which are administered by regional EU funding programs for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza go to organizations which actively promote BDS. These groups have received 17 million out of a total of 67 million Euro. Nine organizations, which actively support BDS have been subsidized through the EU program Partnership for Peace – a program for joint projects by Israeli and Palestinian organizations aimed at building „trust and understanding between the societies in the region“.
EU funds are also distributed to Muslim organizations considered „extremist“ in the context of programs fighting against radicalization. Just recently it was revealed that almost 300,000 Euro were to be awarded to the Islamic Federation of Shiite Communities of Germany – an organization that, according to the German Federal Government, is considered „extremist“. It has close ties to the Hamburg Islamic Center, an outpost of the Iranian regime. Only in the summer of last year, the head of this center said that the activities of his organization “seek to unite Muslims and focus on fighting the Zionist enemy as the main enemy of the Islamic nation”.
One wonders, in light of all of the above, how the EU intends to plausibly fight antisemitism, if its own institutions and officials not only refrain from explicitly condemning and curbing antisemitism but moreover support anti-Semitic organizations. Instead, it would be time to establish a European cordon sanitaire against all anti-Semitic forces, which should be directed against all enemies of Jews within Europe but also without. The battle against anti-Semitism in Europe will decide over the Old Continent’s ability to stand up for the freedom conceived during the Enlightenment and fought for in the French Revolution.